FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Director of Marketing & Communications
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Arts Council has been awarded a $140,000 grant from the Oklahoma State Board of Education to make arts programs possible at alternative education sites across the state. Funds will be used by the Council to award Arts in Alternative Education grants of up to $5,000 to eligible schools that apply. An estimated 25-30 sites could benefit from the program annually. A similar program previously funded through the State Department of Education and administered by the Oklahoma Arts Council was eliminated after the 2009-2010 school year due to budget cuts.
"This is exciting news that furthers our mission of supporting arts education," Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples said. "We appreciate the State Board of Education for recognizing the need for this program and entrusting us to execute it successfully. As we have seen through the program in the past, students will gain critical and creative thinking skills necessary for their success in college, career and life."
Oklahoma Arts Council Arts Education Director Jennifer Barron said research demonstrates the positive impact of arts programs for students in alternative education. Barron said students gain communication skills, increase school attendance, and improve behavior through arts education programs.
"Arts education can appeal to the specific needs of these students and provide them with unique skills and knowledge that will help prepare them for college, career, and beyond," Barron said.
Barron said Arts in Alternative Education grant guidelines must be finalized before eligible schools will be able to apply. Details of the program will be available soon on the Oklahoma Arts Council website, arts.ok.gov.
Grants from the State Board of Education provide funding to programs and services to help meet the goal of Oklahoma students being college, career, and citizen ready by the year 2020. Stronger consideration for the competitive grants was given to programs that would serve schools designated as the most in need of raising student academic achievement.